The past month has seen probably the biggest wave of changes made to the site since it was established over ten years ago. These improvements have been introduced to make the site easier to use, provide new features to play with and generally make the experience more enjoyable. Now that these features have been rolled-out and the dust is beginning to settle, we wanted to run through the updates, to make sure you're not missing out on any of the new facilities.

Forums

If you're a regular user of our forums, you may have spotted that quite a few changes have been made. In fact, things have been shaken up so much that it's hard to know where to start.

The most obvious change, if you're just glancing at the forums, is probably the addition of text formatting, which may help when it comes to subtleties and emphasis. In addition to being able to mark up your text, you can also add your own avatars to your posts. Around a third of our most prolific posters are already making use of the system to make their posts easier to identify.

And this easier identification of posters allows you to make use of some of the other features that have been added. Find a post particularly interesting? Try the new 'bookmark' feature, so that you can easily find your way back, using the 'My bookmarks' tab in the new navigation bar. Want to avoid posts of a user you disagree with? Fold them away with the 'Ignore' button. Or simply flick past them with the new keyboard shortcuts.

Challenges

The Challenges system, introduced at the start of this year, has also had a series of features added. A slideshow system has been added to make it easier to browse and enjoy the submitted images. No sooner had this been introduced, it was upgraded to allow voting while viewing the slideshow.

However, Challenges continues to evolve, so you'll also find that you can now add comments to images once a challenge has finished. These comments appear as threads in the new 'Challenge Entry Comments' forum. And this connection between the forums and challenges goes both ways, with a selection of challenge-winning images now appearing at the top of the forum pages.

This isn't the end of the development efforts, but we thought we'd draw your attention to what's been a pretty intense period for our development team. We hope you enjoy the results.